Tonight I have an hour. I have a beautiful, rarely seen hour to myself. I have fourteen unfinished blog posts I could finish. I have a multitude of books I could begin reading...even a new one sitting on my nightstand begging to be opened. But tonight, I just cannot seem to focus on all the things that I would love to do with this hour. I am grieved. I am grieved for the death of a young man....for his parents who undoubtedly hurt beyond comprehension. I am grieved for a police officer who's life will never again resemble his former life. I am grieved for the citizens of Ferguson who watch as their city becomes a shell of what it once was from riots, looting and fire. I am grieved that race is a primary theme in this painful ordeal for so many people. I am grieved that we have not come as far as we thought we had in this country. We are not unified. There is so much division within us. There is still so much hurt in the hearts of people. Last night the grand jury chose not to indict the police officer who shot and killed an unarmed young man. No one is completely clear on the circumstances. Different stories are swirling around the internet. It is so easy to get caught up in what justice should look like and to form opinions. It is so easy when it is not you. I still have a social media account. Today my feed was filled with whys, rights and wrongs. My conclusion to it all? Justification does not make the heart hurt less. I purposefully did not hang on every uncovered fact or speculation surrounding this case. And even so, I know there is pain. I can see it on every image on television. I also know that it is not healthy when pain dictates behavior. We cannot grieve in a way that creates danger and fuels hate. If there is to ever be true equality, there must be change. Change must come from within. We cannot change others. We can only change ourselves. We are still responsible for our individual reactions. We need to act not react. Where are our great black leaders screaming that this behavior is not acceptable among the black community? A standard must be set and that standard must be kept. This was not Martin Luther King Jr's dream. My black brothers and sisters, you did not come this far to throw it all away like this. You are better than this! And to my white brothers and sisters, stop pointing fingers and embrace those who mourn this tragedy. Change will come when we no longer make excuses, stand accountable for our choices and love one another through the struggle. And the real kicker? Sometimes it calls for us to accept a verdict for which we were never prepared. We cannot "burn this bitch to the ground" every time we feel like justice did not prevail. We just cannot. Standing tall when you feel like dying is never an easy road to walk, but maybe we do not have to walk it alone. Even when we do not agree, we can tame our tongues and just stand beside those with wounded hearts. We can hold their hand. We can tell them with faith that it will be all right. Our government, this country, we the people...we are flawed. Right is not always seen, but glory can come through when all is said and done. God can bring glory through any situation. We must believe. Love does not have to agree. Love needs not utter a word. Love just has to act.
Tonight, if you are reflecting on the reactions in Ferguson, could you bring yourself to pray? Pray for those who live in Ferguson, pray for peace to be restored. Pray for forgiveness in the hearts of those who feel betrayed and alone regardless of how they may have gotten to that place. Pray for comfort for those who are mourning loss. Pray for unification and equality. Pray for strength and steadfastness for our nation in times such as these. There are bound to be more among broken people. And we are all broken a little.